Future Fibers

If You Don’t Like Merino Wool, Try Alpaca Instead

December 18, 2018 Sports and Outdoors By

You already know why merino wool is the perfect material for outdoor garments, but here’s a refresher anyways: merino is quick-drying, static resistant, breathable, antimicrobial (it won’t stink, even after lots of use) and the high-quality stock doesn’t itch. It’s a natural fiber too — a renewable resource that we don’t have to concoct in a lab and won’t contribute microplastics to our waterways and oceans. But merino wool isn’t the only animal fiber that’s ideally-equipped for outdoor clothing; another one is alpaca, and Mission Workshop just used it as the foundational material in a new limited collection of apparel.

In clothing, alpaca fiber functions much like merino wool; it manages moisture to keep you cool in hot temperatures and warm in the cold, it’s naturally odor-resistant, and it provides warmth even when it’s wet. It’s also hypoallergenic. Mission Workshop sources its high-quality thick alpaca wool from Peru, where each piece in the new line is also constructed. There are five in total: a sweater for men and women, fingerless gloves, a beanie and a scarf.

The items look a bit like something a fashion brand might make, but Mission Workshop has performance in mind here. It equipped the Renan sweater with a lower back pocket for bike commuters, for instance. In all of the other pieces, the alpaca fibers are blended with cotton (the mixture is 55-percent alpaca wool and 45-percent cotton) to increase durability (they will lose out on some of the alpaca’s benefits as a result though). Overall, the Alpaca Collection positions itself as clothing suited for those who want to maintain a refined look without sacrificing all of the benefits of technical apparel.

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